Nothing seems to be going right for Hapoel Tel Aviv in recent months.
Reds were expected to challenge for the Premier League championship until the
final whistle of the season, but have failed to even score a single goal from
open play in their past 729 minutes on field.
It was exactly two months
ago that Tal Ben- Haim netted that goal in a 3-0 win over Bnei Sakhnin, giving
Hapoel a two-point lead over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the league
However, since that match, Hapoel has won just one of eight
league encounters, dropping to fourth place in the table, an unassailable 17
points behind the rampant Maccabi.
Coach Yossi Abuksis was sacked and
Freddy David took his place, but Tel Aviv’s talented squad has shown little
improvement, winning just one of its three matches under the new boss, drawing
its past two, including a 0-0 deadlock at rock-bottom Hapoel Acre on
With only European qualification left to play for in the
league, the State Cup has suddenly become a priority for Hapoel.
became the first team in 73 years to lift the cup three years in a row last
season and extended its unbeaten streak in the competition to 17 matches by
edging Hapoel Kfar Saba of the National League 1-0 to progress to the
Tel Aviv was handed another comfortable draw in the last
eight and will be confident of overcoming Hapoel Rishon Lezion of the National
League on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals.
“Hapoel is more talented
than we are, but talent alone will not decide the game,” said Rishon coach Eyal
Also Tuesday, the only remaining third-division side in the
draw, Asi Gilboa, will look to continue its Cinderella run when it hosts Hapoel
Ramat Gan, while Ironi Kiryat Shmona welcomes Bnei Sakhnin and new coach Marco
Balbul in an all- Premier League-showdown.
After stunning Maccabi Tel
Aviv in the last 16, and just three days after being humbled 5-0 by the
yellow-and-blue in league action, Beitar Jerusalem will host in-form Maccabi
Haifa at Teddy Stadium on Wednesday.
Balbul was named Sakhnin coach on
Monday, replacing the sacked Shlomi Dora. Sakhnin dropped to a 2-0 defeat at
Kiryat Shmona on Saturday, extending its winless streak to five matches and
leaving it just a single point above the relegation zone.
situation is complicated, but we are still ahead of the relegation zone,” said
Balbul, who led Sakhnin to a seventh-place finish in the 2009/10 season. “Kiryat
Shmona is in good form, but we are just one game away from reaching the cup
semifinals at National Stadium in Ramat Gan.”
On Monday, Ashdod SC
claimed just its second win in 15 league matches, beating Bnei Yehuda
David Revivo gave Ashdod the lead with a penalty in the 61st minute,
but Pedro Galvan equalized from the spot five minutes later before Stefan
aScepovic scored the winner (71) after another five minutes.